The American Tree Farm System began in 1941 as a means to promote sound forest management practices for private forest landowners. Sponsored by forest industry, the program occurs in all 50 states, however in the early 90’s the program was discontinued in North Carolina . In a cooperative effort from North Carolina ’s foresters and the forest industry, the Tree Farm System is now returning to our state.
A tree farm is defined as a privately owned forest being managed to produce continuous crops of trees with benefits for improved wildlife habitat, watershed protection, recreation, and aesthetic value. The tree farm program was created to ensure the sustainability of America ’s forestland. There is no better way to improve and ensure North Carolina ’s timber production while protecting the environment than by educating the private landowner, for he/she owns almost 75% of North Carolina ’s forestland.
The Tree Farm System has two categories of achievement, Pioneer and Certified. A pioneer tree farm is the beginning level of achievement and means that some form of forest management is needed on the property. A forest management plan and map identifying the different areas of the property with corresponding silvicultural recommendations will be needed. To proceed in becoming a certified tree farmer, the landowner will need to implement the prescribed management recommendations.
Pioneer Tree Farmers receive several benefits including free professional advice from a qualified forester and a free one (1) year subscription to the Tree Farmer magazine. They also receive local information from state Tree Farm committees and the opportunity to attend the annual national Tree Farmer convention.
A certified tree farm is one in which the landowner is already practicing sound forest management and has an updated management plan to follow. Although you may already have a certified tree farm, the area has to be reexamined every 5 years to determine if any forest conditions and/or recommendations have changed. Benefits of being a certified tree farmer include the same benefits as the Pioneer Tree Farmer plus a Tree Farm sign and Tree Farm certificate presented at a public ceremony. Both the Pioneer and Certified Tree Farm provide a sense of pride for landowners knowing they are continuing to provide future forest products while practicing sound forest management.
In order to apply for Tree Farm eligibility, your forestland will have to be examined by a certified Tree Farm Inspector. Tree Farm inspectors are volunteer professional foresters. If you are interested in the Tree Farm System, feel free to contact us. Wilson Faquin, a registered forester here at Timber Marketing & Management, is a certified Tree Farm inspector and will be more than glad to meet with you, examine your property, and discuss in greater detail the Tree Farm System.
Reprinted from “Forest Management News” 2001 Newsletter, Volume 21 Number 1, published by Timber Marketing & Management of the Carolinas, Inc.